I received a NOVA update on how the Appeals backlog at the Board is faring. I’d give it (progress) a so-so on a scale of 1-10. Corovirus 20 aside, it seems the pesky backlog of Legacy Appeals continues to fester. I know it’s true in my case. I have a number of Travel Board hearings scheduled either at the ROs or in DC to ensure we get a face-to-face hearing for my Vets. Call it what you will, it works for me. I like to have that VLJ lined up in my sights right across the table from me and pin him to his seat with my gaze. How in Sam Hill can you impress them with your earnestness otherwise? A video camera just doesn’t convey my emotion and contempt for the regional ignorance we suffer.
Here’s the gist of the txmission from Ms. Diane Rauber:
Summary: Sharing information from recent BVA meeting:
- Important: The Chairman again noted that the only two ways to submit an AMA appeal to BVA is through fax or mail. There is no consistent way to capture 10182s through direct upload. They are working on this issue, so for now continue to fax and mail.
- If you are splitting issues, you need to use separate 10182s…..you can only choose one lane on each form.
- FY 2020 final number of decisions issued = 102,663. There were 15,600 hearings held.
- There are less than 175k legacy appeals left in the system.
- Goals for FY 21 – issue 93,600 decisions and hold over 50k hearings. There are nearly 65k legacy hearing requests pending.
- AMA appeals – there are 53k appeals pending; 32k of which request hearings. According to the Chairman, the trend of requesting hearings in over 50 percent of cases will result in delays of more than a year to two.
- COVID coverage at BVA – they still have about 95% of work force working remotely, with about 20 people on site on any given day.
- Other hearing-related issues: There is no projected date for when TB hearings will return; there are approximately 14k remaining.
They are currently sending letters to veterans with scheduled TBs to provide an option to move to virtual hearings. (Note: we understand there has been a hitch with some letters going to veterans who have not requested such a hearing.)
They can hold up to 1k virtual hearings, but have only been holding about 250 per week. Video hearings are currently only be held in the following 10 ROs: Roanoke, New York, Boston, Denver, Fargo, Boise, Togus, Manchester, White River Junction, and Manila. They are scheduling approximately 6 hearings a day due to CDC cleaning guidelines.
I’ve had a TB hearing request in at Houston since 2017. I was on the cusp of being seated (May 7th) when the Pandemic hit. It still has not been rescheduled. I was looking forward to it because my old middle school buddy and neighbor is the Regional Office Director down there. Rob Worley got “promoted” following the VA’s IT shitshow when the big new superduper computer melding of Military and VA computers for txmission of medrecs failure to launch. Actually, the pesky program still defies the programmers with little bugs. Imagine that. With all the computer whizbang outfits out there available, VA still thinks they can create this behemoth in-house. My opinion is they can’t light a fart without a 2 Billion dollar match but I probably don’t have all the facts…
News and film at 6 tonight.